The pastor at the little church I attend has, on Wednesday nights, been teaching on the Epistle of James, and I find that admirable. James is one of those books that is often avoided by pastors, like the Revelation of John, or the Book of Ezekiel. James is difficult for some to understand, because it is often misinterpreted to mean that salvation comes by good works. Our pastor correctly understands that James teaches that true faith in God produces good works.
True faith in God also produces obedience. If you have faith… I mean, if you truly have faith in God, you will obey Him.
The story is told that, during a D. L. Moody revival meeting, a young man stood up and said, “I don’t rightly know if God will save me or not, but I will trust that He will, and I will obey Him.”
Inspired by the testimony, the song leader at that meeting, Daniel Towner, repeated that testimony to his friend John Sammis. Sammis, a preacher, poet, and song writer, then penned the words to the hymn, Trust and Obey. Towner set those words to music.
Few churches today sing hymns, but I grew up singing them. I remember that one, and I don’t think I ever realized the connection between faith, trust, and obedience. I just never got it.
Towner and Sammis got it. They understood that it takes remarkable faith to trust God enough to obey Him, especially when you are afraid that He may not save you.
King David got it, too. His life moved from one crisis to another. He was constantly pursued by enemies. He rarely went to sleep without fear. He composed hundreds of prayerful songs, many of which are preserved in our Bibles in the Book of Psalms. In most, he speaks of his fears. In spite of his fears, David trusted God and obeyed Him.
Do you possess the faith to trust God? Yes? If so, then you will obey Him.
Fear Not, just trust and obey.
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.—
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
– Trust and Obey, John H. Sammis and Daniel B. Towner, 1887